App Roundup: Pixelmator Pro, Skype, Firefox, Minecraft: Education Edition, more!

in iOS
The App Stores and other digital marketplaces are inundated with new apps and updates to existing releases every day. AppleInsider highlights some of the new additions, software updates, and other changes that took place across the last week.

This week's highlights include Pixelmator Pro at half price, Evernote, Skype, Firefox, Text Case, WhatsApp Messenger, and the release of Minecraft: Education Edition on iPad.

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro

Version 1.1.4 of the image-editing software adds in more effects, including an ML-powered Auto Selective Color adjustment, which can be used to automatically improve image colors using machine learning. A new Light Leak effect can turn a photo into one taken on a sunny day, while the Bokeh effect mimics the camera blur offered by DSLR cameras.

The Noise effect can introduce digital noise to an image, and joins new Tile and Distort effects, Threshold, Mask to Alpha, and Clouds. Lastly, the Spin Blur effect can give the appearance of circular motion. There are also a number of fixes and improvements to the software.

While it is normally priced at $59.99, the image editing tool is currently half price as part of a back-to-school sale.

Get it for macOS: $29.99.


Skype iOS

Microsoft is slowly rolling back its controversial redesign of Skype, which turned the call and messaging app into something closer to Snapchat, to the annoyance of many users. A company blog post has revealed changes are being made to the app to make it simpler and faster to use, and closer to its original form.

For mobile, the Highlights and Capture sections will be removed in favor of offering just three options at the bottom of the interface: Chats, Calls, and Contacts. Highlights that were posted under the new design can be downloaded until the end of September, before they are deleted.

For the desktop version, the app will be closer to the navigational model of the original Skype, with buttons for calls, chats, contacts, and notifications moved to the top left of the window. Contacts are also being made slightly easier to find, as while it wasn't a "highly used entry point" for most users, Microsoft found that those who did use it consider it a "critical" and "safety" mechanism for finding contacts.

The overall appearance is also being updated to a simplified Skype "Classic" blue theme, with reduced decorative elements to simplify the appearance. There are also light and dark themes available to use.

Get it for iOS: Free. Requires iOS 9.0 or later.

Get it for macOS: Free. Requires Mac OS X 10.10 or later.



Mozilla has released Firefox 62 for macOS, which introduces changes to the web browser's "Quantum" build. CSS Variable Font support allows the browser to use typography created within a single font file, rather than using the existing system of font families using separate font files for different styles., while support for CSS Shapes and a new Shape Path Editor in the CSS inspector can be used to create richer web page layouts.

Firefox Home, the default New Tab of the browser, will now display up to four rows of top sites, Pocket stories, and highlights. A "Reopen in Container" tab menu item can appear for users with Containers that lets them re-open the tab in a different container.

The update also includes the removal of a description field for bookmarks, a preference that allows users to distrust certificates issued by Symantec ahead of a change in Firefox 63 that will remove all trust for the certificates, and Canadian English (en-CA) as a locale.

Lastly, a dark theme for Firefox is now enabled to kick in automatically when macOS 10.14 Mojave is set to run in dark mode.

Get it for macOS: Free.

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp Messenger for iPhone

WhatsApp has improved its notifications so that when you receive an image, you can view it in situ. Swipe left or 3D Touch, then tap View to preview any media sent to you.

There's also an improvement on the Status tab: it may be much less used than the main message area but now you can search on it.

Get it for iOS: Free. Requires iOS 8.0 or later for most operations; iOS 10 or later for the new notifications feature.

Text Case

Text Case for iPhone

Talk about niche appeal. Text Case may do only one thing, but it does it supremely well. When you've written a headline or even an email subject line, TextCase will convert it to match various recommended styles.

So if you're a devotee of the Chicago Manual of Style but not quite enough of one to already know how that says titles should be capitalized, you need Text Case. If you're an Associated Press kind of person instead, one tap converts your title to what that style guide recommends.

Text Case also does the kind of changing to all caps, all lower case and so on that you can typically find as an option in Word or Pages. It just has a lot more options.

Get it for iOS: $0.99. Requires iOS 11.4 or later.



The Evernote company has dropped the price of its one-year Premium service from $70 to $42. This is only available if you pay yearly, not monthly, and it's not clear whether this is a permanent drop or not. Earlier this year the company ran a short promotion at this same price.

Alongside this week's price drop, the Evernote apps for iOS and Mac have been updated recently but chiefly with a refined design.

Note that AppleInsider this week covered how to export your notes out of Evernote specifically because the company is reported to be having problems.

Get it for iOS: Free to download. Requires iOS 10.3 or later.

Get it for Mac: Free to download. Requires macOS 10.12 or later.

Minecraft: Education Edition

The educational version of the block-based creative game has made its way to iPad, following availability on other platforms. While a free download, it is designed to be used with the Education Edition subscription sold from Microsoft to schools.

The version provides access to various teaching resources that incorporate Minecraft into lesson plans, covering a range of traditional STEM areas and other subjects. This ranges from languages to art and history, to science, with teachers able to monitor the progress of students and to lead lessons in the tool itself.

Get it for iOS: Free. Requires iOS 9.0 or later.
Sign In or Register to comment.